I don’t know what, maybe he nicked Bobby Charlton’s hair in a past life. While there was plenty of talk of injury crisis at the other lot before yesterday’s game they put out pretty much their first XI, while AVB was denied Kaboul, BAE, Dembele and Caulker.
With all those missing the anti-AVB lot got what they wanted formation wise with two strikers and a seemingly 4-4-2 line up.
And it was working. In an opening period which saw neither side really in total control which meant surprisingly despite being out numbered in the middle of the park Spurs weren’t being overrun there. Ten minutes in it really worked as Vertonghen moved up into the acres of space lobbed the ball to Defoe who also had enough space, to put in a weak shot, which their ‘keeper weakly palmed for Adebayor to scuff in the opener. Was glad to see their ‘keeper was fit to play after his lay off.
Shortly after Lennon could have doubled the lead but just shot wide. It was working. The pace was doing for them, though not enough was coming from the wide areas, too much through the middle.
Then it all changed. Cazorla playing an innocuous ball back towards his own half and Adebayor needlessly launches himself at him. Reckless challenge that’s only going to bring a red card in a game like this these days. When Adebayor’s this pumped against his old teams it is a 50/50 whether you get the winner or the idiot. Looked like the former finished as the latter. from the opener I question if it was a 70 minute hanging on job, now it was a 75 minutes one.
As an aside, regarding two footed lunge tackles that get straight reds. How many times does it happen in such a circumstance as this when no tackle was really required, wasn’t a dangerous situation halfway inside Spurs half with the ball going backwards. In the end that’s the frustrating part of it all. So needless.
Wow, Tottenham really don't like playing 4-4-2
— Jonathan Liew (@jonathanliew) November 17, 2012
What followed was no surprise. Though surprisingly not all of it was the blame of being down to 10 men.
The equaliser came 6 minutes later when Naughton should have prevented Walcott’s cross, though if he had some help from Bale at some point it would have been nice, and Huddlestone let Mertesacker have a free header. Gallas seemingly getting all the blame though for once not his fault. Preventable even with one man less.
Took them a while to take the lead. Ball bouncing off Huddlestone to Podolski who scuffs it off the hapless Gallas to leave Lloris stranded. The third didn’t take so long to arrive. Them lot originally hitting Howard Webb with the ball and all complaining like individuals who don’t know the rules. Lennon played into trouble by a lazy pass from Huddlestone gives away a foul. After the free kick is repelled Lennon is again played into trouble as he’s left on his own to cover three players on the edge of the box. One with the ball. Resulting cross is knocked in by the player marked by Gallas.
Again preventable even with 10 men.
A few minutes before the third went in I’d Tweeted about the boss making changes at half-time…
How about dong a Mancini at half time. Back three and getting that extra body in the middle. Nothing to lose now.
— Toxic Web (@Toxic_Web) November 17, 2012
He did just that. Both fullbacks off, Dawson into a back three and Dempsey to link the middle and Defoe. Again AVB doing what the fans wanted and showing some fight. Going for it. And again it worked. Yes they got a fourth but pushing on so much and down to ten men chances are that was going to happen.
But when Bale made it 4-2 with what was up to then one of of his very few contributions it was the home fans that looked panic. Bale could have closed the gap further but like Lennon earlier his shot went agonisingly wide. Followed in standard fashion by Defoe’s complaints at another player being greedy and going for goal when a pass is on. Dear Alanis Morissette, this is irony.
A camera pan around the new library showed pale, nervous, nail biting individuals. It should have shown Spurs the way, running at them, they don’t like it and they’re not up to it. Bale and Lennon should have done more.
So they scored a fifth in the first minute of added time. Spurs pushing on, poor attempt at a pass by Vertonghen leaving others exposed to a quick attack. A product of the situation.
And the ‘Arry loving anti-AVB brigade were out in force.
The only problem for them being last season ‘Arry had a full squad to pick from, including King, Modric and van der Vaart, were two nil up and played the full game with 11 men. This time AVB didn’t have those three ex-players as well as Dembele, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto and Caulker. To go with Adebayor’s dismissal. Last time out that result killed Spurs’ season. This time it won’t.
The boss will have to do without Adebayor now for his three game suspension. He should also be doing without some others. Huddlestone has shown he just hasn’t got it to run the midfield, as part of a two. Until Dembele returns, Carroll should be given a go.
Now I’ve always like the 3-5-2 formation and we’ve got enough decent centre-backs to do it. The fullbacks aren’t having the best of time, Walker needs a rest and Naughton is on the wrong side. So why not go Dawson, Vertonghen and Caulker at the back – what with Gallas being a bit of a weak link, both pace wise and defensively at the moment. Then you can pack the midfield, so Sandro doesn’t have to the work of two men and can still play a striker to support Defoe.
With the current players: Lloris – Caulker, Dawson, Vertonghen – Lennon, Sandro, Carroll, Sigurdsson, Bale – Dempsey, Defoe.
Then when others come back: Lloris – Caulker, Kaboul, Vertonghen – Lennon, Sandro, Carroll, Dembele, Bale – any two from Dempsey/Sigurdsson/Defoe/Adebayor